The Yamaha RX-100 is a motorcycle that is as iconic as it can get. It has a huge cult following that continues to grow even after the company stopped manufacturing the motorcycle. Before the RX-100, Yamaha had the RD350, also known as the ‘hooligan bike’ which was stupidly fast but also a fuel guzzler and had reliability issues. With the drop in sales for the two-stroke twin, Yamaha needed a bike that would offer similar thrills while being an easily manageable bike. The result was a motorcycle that quickly captured the market right after its official introduction in 1985, the RX-100.
The four main factors that contribute to the RX-100’s great success can be attributed to its simple design, impeccable reliability, affordability and most of all, the brisk performance it offered. The Yamaha RX-100 was powered by a 98cc air-cooled unit that punched out 10.8bhp at 7500rpm and peak torque of 10.39Nm at 6500rpm. The unit came mated to a four-speed gearbox. While the power might not feel significant by today’s standard, dial in the characteristics of a two-stroker, nimble handling and a kerb weight of just 103kg, and you’re in for a crazy joyride. Suspension duties in the RX-100 were done by telescopic forks at the front and twin shocks at the rear. For braking, the motorcycle employed 130mm drum brakes at both ends which, although incapable of shedding speed effectively, added an element of skill and precision riding amongst spirited riders.
For the 11 years that Yamaha sold the RX-100, the motorcycle never received any major overhaul. The only significant change it received was the change over from a 6-volt electrical system to a 12-volt system along with the inclusion of a Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI) system that improved the bike’s ignition and spark timing.
The legendary RX-100 was manufactured by Yamaha till 1996 before the company had to pull to plug on the icon owing to the stringent emission norms enforced by the government, which saw the discontinuation of the sale for all two-stroke motorcycles in the country. Currently, there seem to be no plans to revive the legend and we can only hope that someday Yamaha would consider bringing back the RX-100, in a modern avatar, offering the same fun and excitement the original one offered.